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EVE Online

EVE Evolved: EVE Online vs. Elite: Dangerous

EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Elite: Dangerous

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Like many EVE Online players, I grew up playing early sci-fi games like Elite and its sequel Frontier. In fact, CCP's recently released stats on the distribution of ages within the EVE community shows a peak around 29 years old, meaning that most players grew up in that same gaming era. A big part of what initially drew me to EVE Online was the prospect of playing the same kind of massive trading and space exploration game with other people, and for over 10 years it's scratched that sci-fi sandbox itch. I've watched EVE grow from a relatively unknown game with around 40,000 subscribers and laggy cruiser skirmishes into a vast game where thousands of players wage war for territory, profit, or just the adrenaline rush of PvP with something valuable on the line.

Now that Elite: Dangerous is finally here, I want to see whether it can scratch the same sandbox itch as EVE and to what extent the two games can be compared. Both feature customisable ship fittings, open-world PvP with a criminal justice system, and real financial loss on death, for example, but the end result is two very different gameplay styles. And both also have that same intoxicating notion of exploring the unknown and try to make you feel like you're in a living world, but they take very different approaches to world design, content, and travel. Elite may not be a full-fledged MMO, but with a sandbox made of 400 billion procedurally generated stars and an open play mode that seamlessly merges players' games together, does it matter?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I compare my experiences in Elite: Dangerous to my experiences in EVE Online and look at their differing strategies with regard to server model, active and passive gameplay, and the new player experience.

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EVE Online plans security crackdown on RMT rule violators

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

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Players who have been skirting EVE Online's TOS might find themselves on the bad side of a ban come 2015, as the studio is rolling out tougher rules on violators in the new year. CCP posted a security blog in which it outlined how real-money traders will be punished, as well as those engaging in other activities such as input broadcasting and multiplexing.

While CCP didn't post the number of bans it performed in 2014, it did show a few graphs illustrating where the problem areas lay. Banned accounts this year, permanent and temporary, were divided up by macro use (56%), ISK selling (18%), ISK buying (5%), modified clients (4%), ISK spamming (1%), and other (16%).

On the brighter side of news, the team is hard at work on January's Proteus patch with sneakier combat recon ships, improved asteroid belt visuals, and the retirement of industry teams.

[Thanks to Chrysillis for the tip!]

EVE Online and DUST 514 celebrate the holiday season

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Sandbox, Subscription

It's usually hard to find a way to mention a good year and DUST 514 in the same space.
The year is wrapping up and EVE Online players are getting presents to celebrate. CCP Games has posted a short recap of the past year and an announcement of the holiday gifts players can expect to receive as a paid subscriber. That includes snowballs, fireworks, jackets, and a set of trinkets to commemorate the past year. Players can also look forward to 20 free days of multiple character training as a final additional gift. All of these promotions are available until January 11th.

Meanwhile, for those of you who prefer to explore this particular universe via a console shooter, DUST 514 is having a holiday event with its 12 Days of DUST. Starting on December 25th, each day will bring a new reward to players who finish three daily missions, so you'll have to keep playing through January 5th to unlock all the rewards. A special reward is awaiting those who clear everything, so get strapped in and ready to shoot if you want to celebrate the holidays that way.

EVE Online nixes industry teams

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

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Not every new idea is going to take off and be a smash hit, as CCP definitely understands this as much as anyone. The EVE Online developer said that the implementation of industry teams earlier this year has been vastly underused, and as a result, teams will be removed from the game entirely in 2015.

"We have been closely tracking all related industry metrics and dials and it is apparent to us that usage of teams has been very low relative to the goals we set for it -- with single figure percentage use in manufacturing jobs and near nonexistent use in research," CCP wrote.

Industry teams had allowed players to hire NPCs to help out with industry jobs. The feature will be "methodically removed" over the next few months, although players will be able to use teams until they are forceably retired.

On another note, EVE tweeted that it has freed up over six million names from former trial players and has made them available for general use.

EVE Online speeds up game installation and access

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

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To "get people into the game quicker," CCP is smoothing out the download and installation process for EVE Online. This new method of deployment is scheduled to go into service at the start of 2015.

This means that the installation package will go from a 7GB download to a zippy 200MB one instead. Once that game client is up and running, it will then download the rest of the game's resources as needed.

"On a fast connection you probably won't notice much of a difference -– load times may be slightly longer at times. As you play more, more resources will be cached and fewer and fewer need to be downloaded. The client will be smart about pre-fetching resources it expects will be needed soon," the team said.

Here's everything new and noteworthy in EVE's Rhea patch

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Still wondering what's under the hood of EVE Online's Rhea patch? You must've missed all those CCP dev blogs, then. In any case, wonder no more, thanks to this newly released video that takes you on a tour of the sci-fi sandbox's newest features including PBR rendering, the new Thera system, 100 new wormhole systems, and more.

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CCP dev blog talks PBR and 'making EVE look real'

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

Have you ever wondered about the math behind the visuals in your favorite games? If so, look no further than the latest EVE Online dev blog, which regales us with tales of the Phong Reflection Model and how it's giving way to something called Physically Based Rendering or PBR.

The post features a bunch of equations, literally, and plenty of associated smart-person talk. Fortunately for me it also features quite a few pretty pics of internet spaceships! You can read it for yourself via the links below.

EVE Evolved: The Sleepers are coming!

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, Roleplaying, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

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Ever since the announcement of 100 new wormhole systems and the unique Thera wormhole hub system, some interesting things have been going on in EVE Online. A new star appeared in the night sky and began rapidly growing in brightness like a supernova, and curiously, the light from that star was able to be seen from every star system in New Eden simultaneously in clear violation of the laws of physics. Two days prior to the event, Sansha's Nation were seen scattering from an Incursion site and leaving the area without using wormholes, hinting that something big was happening in their home system. Combined with the intruiging story of Thera, this has had even non-roleplayers scrambling through the EVE lore to come up with theories about what's to come.

Players slowly set apart picking the mystery to pieces, conducting a galaxy-wide search to find the origin of the bright star and sending people into the test server to get clues. The mystery intensified when players discovered that the star was likely near or within restricted Jove space, and soon after they began finding strange cloaked structures throughout known space. While observing these structures, players even found that an all-new form of Sleeper NPC called the Circadian Seeker was periodically warping into the site and using some kind of scanning beam on the cloaked structure. All of this comes in anticipation of the public release of the Rhea patch on Tuesday 9th, which will introduce hidden Sleeper sites in known space and kick off the arms race to discover tech 3 destroyers.

In this lore-heavy edition of EVE Evolved, I look at everything we know of EVE's new Sleeper storyline event and try to figure out how it all fits together.

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EVE Online's Rhea update launches with photo-realistic spaceships

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Sandbox

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The many sleek and styling spaceships of EVE Online are about to get a visual upgrade with today's Rhea update, thanks to something called physically-based rendering. By applying this tech, spaceships will have "a natural, photo-realistic look."

Of course, when it comes to visuals, they must be seen or they didn't happen. So see! After the break, that is. CCP says that this new tech will be initially limited to spaceships but eventually will be used on stations and other space objects. You can also check out the patch notes for Rhea as well.

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EVE's Rhea tweaks star map functionality

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

Rhea's on final approach, and EVE Online developer CCP has published another dev blog designed to clue pilots into the patch's new features. Today's installment tackles the star map, which has been tweaked with new visuals, a windowed mode, and zoom functionality that represents the beginnings of a consolidation project that will marry the star map with EVE's solar system map.

There are some smaller changes as well, so click through to the dev blog to learn more.

EVE's Rhea update profiled in new dev video

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Curious about EVE Online's forthcoming Rhea update? Have yourself a look at CCP's latest in-development video, which we've embedded just past the break. It features tidbits on the new Thera system, 100 new shattered wormhole systems, redesigned and remodeled ships, manual controls, and a lot of other stuff.

CCP has also released a textual dev blog focused on the cloning changes that Rhea will introduce on December 9th.

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CCP to target EVE Online botters in 2015

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Sandbox

Last week, CCP Games updated its policy on multiboxing and input automation within the spaceship sandbox EVE Online.

Multiboxing -- that is, " playing as multiple separate characters, simultaneously, across a number of accounts, either by using multiple computers to run the game, or by using a number of instances of EVE on a single computer" -- will continue to be allowed, CCP wrote. But input animation is off the table.

"Input Automation refers to actions that are commonly also referred to as botting or macroing," explains the studio. "This term is used to describe, but is not limited to, the automation of actions which have consequences in the EVE universe," including automated "activation and control of ships and modules, navigation and movement within the EVE universe, movement of assets and items within the EVE universe, [and] interaction with other characters."

Botters caught violating the rule after January 1st will be punished with a temporary ban on the first offense and a permanent ban on the second.

EVE rookies, look here first

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Are you an EVE Online newb? Are you a vet who's returned thanks to that trailer and who's basically forgotten the game's finer points? CCP is calling your attention to a new blog post designed to mitigate a bit of the sci-fi sandbox's infamous learning cliff.

You'll find a terminology and new player FAQ, EVE University guides, chat tips, and more, all waiting for you via the links below.

EVE Evolved: What does Thera mean for EVE?

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been keeping up with the recent news updates on EVE Online, you've probably heard about the upcoming Rhea update scheduled for December 9th. This mega patch will introduce the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class, Sleeper incursions into normal space, hands-on WASD flight controls, and 101 new wormhole systems (including 25 that are limited to small ships). The new wormhole systems have had all of their planets shattered by an as-yet unknown stellar phenomenon, and clues as to what transpired there will be hidden in the rubble. This infusion of new content and story will mark the first time the wormhole storyline and gameplay have been significantly expanded in over four years.

Each of the new shattered star systems is guaranteed to have at least one outgoing wormhole leading to normal space at all times, increasing the likelihood that pirates will catch you exploring or farming them. And since these systems won't have any in-tact moons, you won't be able to put up a permanent starbase to retreat to if hostiles appear. I'm pretty excited for exploring this new lawless frontier, but it's a unique shattered star system called Thera that I'm most looking forward to finding. Thera will be the first and only wormhole system to have fully kitted NPC stations and will serve as neutral ground for anyone who wants to live there. It's been described as the Mos Eisley of EVE, a permanent home to pirates, PvP corps, and smugglers looking to make some quick ISK.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the Thera system could revolutionise EVE for a lot of players and where the EVE storyline could go as a result.

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'This is EVE,' and it's pretty slick

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

If you've got even a passing interest in sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, you'll want to take a look at the new trailer just unveiled by developer CCP at today's EVE Down Under player event in Australia.

The clip runs for nearly four minutes and is comprised entirely of in-game footage. It's also underscored by the voice comms of actual EVE players (NSFW!), which CCP has cut together to form a rather scintillating soundtrack that attempts to answer the question "what is EVE."

This is EVE, according to the trailer's title, and you can soak it up just after the cut!

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